Man Without a Living Trust Told He’s Good as Dead

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( — January 2, 2014)  Austin, TX — Imagine after a short hospital stay, a judge declares you permanently incompetent. The decision is made in probate court, at a hearing you do not attend because you’re now healthy and never asked for help in the first place. None of that matters, however.

A conservator is appointed by the court to manage your estate – and manage your entire life, frankly, or what’s left of it. Because in the eyes of the law, you’re now as good as dead.

You are sent to a nursing home in Connecticut even though New York is your home. And while you’re living as a prisoner, not allowed to leave, others will be deciding what to do with your house, property, wealth and investments. Maybe even what to do with your dog.

This nightmare is the true story of 86-year-old Daniel Gross, who had his freedom taken away in probate court.

He never set up a Revocable Living Trust to make decisions for when he was incapacitated. So when Daniel fell ill and needed temporary care, his children began to fight over his bills and control of his estate. They welcomed probate court to step in and help solve the problem.

And like many other horror stories that start in probate court, that’s when bad went to worse. Even though Daniel made a full-recovery from his illness, the court took away his life-savings, his possessions, and his freedom.

The court-appointed conservator then put his house up for sale.

And this went on for 10 months until two alert volunteer lawyers made it their mission to undo this perversion of justice. Thanks to John Peters and Veronica Halpine, Daniel got his life back.

But this, and other probate horror stories, all could have been prevented with some advanced planning.

A Revocable Living Trust can be set up beforehand to dictate these hard decisions in the event of your death, incapacitation or court-declared incompetence. Daniel Gross’s story was just one nightmare scenario of when these decisions are taken away from you, but there are others.

That’s why more and more financial advisors are recommending trusts to their clients.

Financial advisor, author and talk show host Suze Orman recommends everyone have a Revocable Living Trust – even if you had no idea you needed one.

For example, someone with little to no money or wealth may not see the need for a trust. But if you suddenly pass away, and your employer provides life insurance, that money could be tied up in court for years and subject to incredibly high fees before your loved ones ever see a penny.

And if the parents of a minor were to pass away, in say, a car accident, any insurance money would be withheld until that minor reaches 18 years of age. In the meantime, the courts may set up a guardianship for the money which, again, comes with enormous costs.

So instead of that money being used to take care of your child, it’s locked away and ripped apart by fees.

If you do have a moderate to large estate, you have an even greater need for a Revocable Living Trust.

Unfortunately, many believe that a will is “good enough.” But a will still has to go through probate court in most cases, which can be costly and may take months or years to get everything settled.

Maybe worst of all, when your estate enters probate court, all of your assets are made public record. Financial predators can then search through this public record looking for people, like your loved-ones, to take advantage of.

On the other hand, a revocable living trust can keep you out of probate court and keep your family’s assets private.


Recently, a financial education company, The Elevation Group (EVG), took the time to record an in-depth strategy session with a Revocable Trust expert. He identifies 5 reasons why trusts are a valuable solution for anyone, including avoiding probate court, keeping your loved-ones safe from financial predators and even many tax advantages.

The strategy session with the Revocable Trust and Estate Planning expert is available to EVG members now, which you can find out more about here:

About The Elevation Group: Serial entrepreneurs, Mike Dillard and Robert Hirsch, started The Elevation Group with a single mission: to bring the investment strategies of the ultra-rich to the middle class. Since its founding in 2010, the company has served more than 50,000 members, making it the fastest growing financial education company on the planet. Find out more here: